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SUBJECTIVE AND OBJECTIVE TRUTHS

 

 

After a lot of introspection and reflection I have come to the awareness that there are as many truths as human beings and as many realities as pairs of eyes in this world. Based on our life experiences we all develop a unique world-view that becomes our truth.
When we socialize with others and have a genuine dialogue we discover that every human being has a subjective truth. It can also be called a personal truth. Every encounter with life can be given a special meaning that can become a personal and subjective truth. Those people who live on their own or become monks and live a solitary existence spending time in meditation can live with their personal and subjective truth all their lives, as they rarely have to communicate with other human beings.
The moment human beings decide to interact with other human beings and lead an active social life, they need to learn to communicate and create a shared truth. To communicate with others human beings rely on verbal and non-verbal communication and for that communication to be healthy and successful both parties need to rely on a language that is a shared language to create a shared truth. During such communication both parties make progress only if the message given is the same as message received. But if the perception is different from the intention and both parties put different or conflicting meanings to the shared experience, we can see serious problems in communication.
It is not uncommon to see that human beings brought up in the same family, country and community might have the same shared truths, because they share a common language and culture. Since they believe in the same authorities whether parents, grandparents or teachers or political and religious teachers, they accept their truth without questioning it. They are conditioned by the same cultural traditions. Such shared truths can be called social truths.
The problem starts when human beings start socializing with people from other families and communities who are brought up in different cultural traditions and both parties present their subjective truths as objective truths. Just because one truth is shared by the members of the same family, religion and culture does not mean that others have to accept that truth without questioning it.
For human beings to expect others to accept their truth they have to prove it and make the subjective truth into an objective and scientific truth. If that truth cannot be proven logically and rationally and experienced by other human beings, then it cannot be accepted universally. Such truth remains a subjective truth that is shared by the members of the same discipline or tradition but questioned by others.
When we study world history we find that there have been three separate and parallel traditions evolving over the centuries:
…People belonging to religious traditions who believe in God and religion
…People belonging to spiritual tradition who believe in God but may not believe in any organized religion
and
…People belonging to secular tradition who believe neither in God nor religion
The problem in communication arises when some religious and spiritual people present their subjective truth as objective truth and even consider it an absolute truth. They present their subjective truth as the truth rather than a truth because it is associated with their God, Prophet, Religion and Scriptures.
The communication between religious, spiritual and secular people breaks down when secular people demand a scientific proof while religious and spiritual people insist that just because a truth cannot be proven scientifically it does not mean that is not a truth. Secular people feel that some truths are irrational and illogical and can be proven wrong as they are against laws of nature.
When we review different truths presented by the followers of different traditions we can say that
…some truths are rational and have become part of science and are accepted universally
…some truths are irrational and remain part of a religious and spiritual tradition and not accepted by secular people
…some truths are supra-rational as they can neither be proved or disproved rationally so they stay in limbo for the time being until science either proves them and accepts them or disproves them and rejects them.
Secular people believe that it is the responsibility of religious and spiritual people to prove their truth if they want their truth be accepted by non-believers while some believers believe that scientists have to prove their truth wrong if they want to discard and reject it.
As science evolves and more and more people accept the rational and logical attitude and adopt a scientific attitude towards life, they become clear in their thinking and find it easier to accept that life follows laws of nature and we need to discover those laws if we want to understand and predict life otherwise we have to live with a mystery. Secular people feel comfortable to live with the uncertainty of life while religious and spiritual people fill that vacuum with their subjective truths and miracles that cannot be proven to others. People could live with such a situation comfortably if those religious and spiritual people did not present their subjective truths as absolute truths and insisted on others to accept them as objective truths.
All human beings have subjective truths, only some of them can be accepted universally as objective truths. Subjective truths can be religious or spiritual truths while objective truths are the scientific truths that are accepted universally.
I share with my secular friends that they need to spend their time and energy on presenting scientific truths rather than attacking religious and spiritual truths. Sigmund Freud believed that as the borders of science expand the frontiers of religion shrink. Freud also shared with us that human beings who are rational beings can become rationalizing beings if they have a strong emotional investment in an issue as it is sometimes hard to reason with emotions. Shakespeare said that heart has reasons that mind does nor know. I sometimes wonder that for some people their truths are like their children. Because they love them they think they are the most beautiful in the whole wide world. Now I feel that all human beings have their subjective and objective truths to give their lives a meaning, a meaning that is very special to them. And if we want other people to respect our truths we need to give them the same courtesy and respect their truths even when we disagree with them This is the only way for us to have genuine dialogue with each other and learn from each other and grow together.
 

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